Dettah and N’dilo

The communities of Dettah and N’dilo operate under Yellowknives Dene First Nation.


The community of Dettah is located 27 km by an all season road from the City of Yellowknife and 6.5 km by winter ice road.  According to NWT Bureau of Statistics, the population of Dettah is 248.

The Dene of Dettah have traditionally hunted and trapped in the area. During the late-18th century, the Yellowknives Chipewyan tribe acquired guns, making it the most powerful group in the region and allowing their Chief Akaitcho to oppress the neighbouring Dene tribes. In 1823, the Dogrib began to retake their old hunting grounds under Chief Edzo who, with the help of his Yellowknives brother-in-law, Kaw-Tay-Whee, made peace with Akaitcho. Previously, Dettah was a seasonal fishing camp until the City of Yellowknife was established to pave the way for gold mining.

Chief Edward Sangris
Chief Edward Sangris

Edward Sangris was born and raised a traditional lifestyle in Dettah, NT, as a youth Edward enjoyed hunting, fishing and trapping with his father Joseph “It’o” Sangris.

Edward attended Joseph Burel Tyrell School in Fort Smith, NT, after completing his education, he went to Lethbridge Community College taking Environmental Science. Edward was employed as a Heavy Equipment Operator for 23 years in the Mining Industry.

Edward also served as a Band Councilor for the Yellowknives Dene First Nation for a period of 12 years. His family, in fact has a long history of being in leadership roles in the community. His father Joseph “It’o” Sangris served as Chief for a period of 32 years, and his brother Jonas Sangris also served as Chief for a period of 12 years.

Edward was elected as the Dettah Chief for the Yellowknives Dene First Nation on August 7th, 2007, and re-elected for his third term as Chief on May 25, 2015.


The community of N’dilo is located on the north end of Latham Island, adjacent to the City of Yellowknife.  Despite being located next to Yellowknife, N’dilo remains independent and is considered a distinct community.  N’dilo became a permanent settlement in the early 1940s.  According to NWT Bureau of Statistics, the population of N’dilo is 321.

Chief Ernest Betsina
Chief Ernest Betsina

Ernest Betsina is a 2nd term Chief of N’dilo, one of two communities within the Yellowknives Dene First Nation in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada.

Ernest is the second oldest of seven children and has two sisters and four brothers. After graduating from high school I completed a four year carpentry journeyman certification program. He gained experience in the private sector in both construction and diamond mining.

Spending time with his family, his two sons and their partners is important for Ernest. His three grandchildren bring him much joy and being an active part of their lives is a priority. Watching and playing hockey is a passion in his life, as is walking and running for exercise. Playing hand-games, drum dancing and camping are favorite activities.

As Chief, Ernest is very committed to being a healthy and strong leader for the members of his community. He supports many community activities and is recognized as an initiator and motivator. Though Ernest is very busy with the many challenges of being a leader, he makes time to roll up his sleeves and put on his tool belt to go help his community members.